EU a peace 'superpower', Mogherini says after Trump win


Brussels (AFP)

The European Union is becoming a "superpower" indispensible for world peace, the bloc's foreign affairs chief said Thursday as Europe pondered the implications of Donald Trump's upset US election victory.

"In the months and years ahead, actually I can say in the hours we are living, there is and will be an increasing demand of Europe from our neighbours and from our partners worldwide," Federica Mogherini said.

"There is and there will be an increasing demand for a principled global security provider, for a superpower that believes in multilateralism and cooperation," Mogherini said in an address to the European Defence Agency.

Trump's stunning win has shocked a Europe fearful that his "America First" campaign pledge will see Washington downgrade ties with both NATO and the European Union that have underpinned the Western political order since World War II.

The EU has already started pushing ahead with plans for a European army in the wake of another geopolitical shock: key defence player Britain's Brexit vote to leave the bloc.

Some EU states such as France and Germany see Brexit as an opportunity to press ahead with defence cooperation that London has long blocked, and analysts have said the same could be true if Trump were to turn his back on Europe.

"It is up to us. In a changing global landscape, Europe will be more and more an indispensible power," Mogherini said.

"This is the time I believe to take on our responsibilities and to respond to that call (for security) ... and we can do this only as a true union."

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly spoken of the need for a "European army" while Mogherini has published an ambitious Global Strategy to turn pledges of increased cooperation into reality.

France and Germany moved quickly after the June Brexit vote to put plans for a an EU military headquarters on the table.

They and Mogherini have been careful, however, to stress they do not intend to duplicate NATO efforts, a no-go area for Washington.

The EU does not have a separate military arm but has mounted several small civil-military missions, for example in central Africa and combatting piracy off the Horn of Africa.

The EDA is a small unit set up to help coordinate efforts to boost overall EU defence capabilities by increasing cooperation among member states.